A ground incident on Friday evening at Oliver Tambo International Airport resulted in the loss of two flights capacity as the holiday season warms up.
In a statement, SAA confirmed that an SAA Airbus A320 was being towed from the airport ramp to the maintenance facility when the tow bar of a tow truck broke and caused the aircraft to veer off and hit a parked FlySafair aircraft.
The SAA wing tip and the FlySafair empennage section was damaged.
“This is truly an unfortunate development as this takes out the seat capacity of two aircraft, an SAA A320 and a FlySafair B737, out of the market at a time when our passengers are experiencing higher ticket prices due to limited aircraft availability on our domestic market. My colleague at FlySafair and I are committed to taking extraordinary steps at ensuring that both the aircraft are brought back to service as soon as possible,” SAA Executive Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Lamola, said.
As a result of the incident, SA357/372 from Johannesburg to Cape Town was cancelled and customers were accommodated on SA359/374.
Further, SA323/334 has been upgraded to operate A333 and the new estimated departure time for SA334 is 13h05 local time, due to rotation.
The SAA aircraft is out of operation and the impact of the wing is being assessed.
"Both the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have been notified. The aircraft will only return to operations once the airline is satisfied of its airworthiness," Spokesperson Vimla Maistry said in a statement.
No passengers were on-board either aircraft at the time.
“SAA assures its customers that all ground safety procedures have been adhered to as part of our strict safety protocols. The airline regrets any inconvenience and delays caused by this incident and for any further disruptions that might impact our schedule.”SAA Executive: Operations, Madoda Nkalane says,
The latest incident follows that of an SAA flight in June which had a fuel contamination incident mid-air between Accra Ghana and Oliver Tambo Airport and had to divert to Namibia for safe landing.